Recap for Tony's Farewell Fiesta By Sue Day

Recap for Tony's Farewell Fiesta

By Sue Day

Tony and the Sonoma Coast painting.jpg

By coincidence - Pastor Tony's farewell luncheon and party fell on Mexico's Independence Day (September 16), so we had a Mexican Fiesta theme with Mariachi music playing in the background. About 70 people attended. Freshly made gourmet tacos were available on the deck with four 12-foot tables laden with pot luck dishes in the Social Hall. A special Mexican cake, Tres Leche (three milk cake) was decorated with "We love you, We will miss you, Your ACC Family".

Concha and Javier decorated the Social Hall in green, white and red, the national colors of Mexico.

Our gifts to Tony and Darrell included: royal blue t-shirts with ACC's stained glass love dove logo, a photo album that will contain photographs of attendees, two wool hats knitted by Ruth Robinson and Linda Young with plaques initiating Tony and Darrell into the Order of the Worthy Tam, and finally an original oil painting entitled "Sonoma Coast" by local artist Iris Sabre. Tony and Darrell often drove to the ocean for rest and rejuvenation.  

After lunch 20 singers from the Oakland Gay Men's Chorus**, with whom Tony often sang, performed "It's a Wonderful World".

Assisting Sue Day, Coordinator, were the following: Nina Harmon, Sara and Randy Laferte, Ruth Robinson, Dudley Thompson, Concha Delgado, Bill Day, Helen Winters, Elena Caruthers, Jaima Roberts, Barry Cammer, Alan Gardiner, Ron Yourd, Natalie Morrison, and Beatrice Gonzalez (our facilities caretaker's wife) who made Uruguayan cookies with caramel and vanilla icing with coconut flakes.

** This talented group will be giving a Christmas Concert at ACC on December 9 at 4 PM! Save the Date!!

Spectrum: Blue Theology with Rev. Deboray Streeter

Spectrum: Blue Theology with Rev. Deboray Streeter

September 23 @ 11:30 am

You are invited to join us in the Fireside Room for a Spectrum presentation by Deborah Streeter on Blue Theology. The program starts just after you've had a chance to get a cup of coffee after worship today.

Rev. Deborah Streeter is authorized by the United Church of Christ to be "Minister for Blue Theology," preaching and teaching about ocean spirituality and ocean stewardship.

She is a member of two churches; La Selva Community United Church of Christ, and the Christian Church of Pacific Grove, where she co-founded their Blue Theology program, which provides learning/serving/retreat opportunities for youth and adults on ocean stewardship and spirituality. She writes a weekly "Blue Theology Tide-ings" blog on Facebook and at: &

Deborah has served as a local church pastor, campus minister (UC Berkeley), hospital chaplain (Stanford Hospital), associate conference minister for the UCC and editor of their monthly regional newspaper. She has taught at Pacific School of Religion and in Santa Clara University's Environmental Studies program.

Into the Future by Barry Cammer

Into the Future

By Barry Cammer

First of all, traveling mercies for Tony and Darrell - and their cat. Tony and Darrell made the decision to leave, but I'm sad to see them go. Even though this is a good move for them, I have to imagine that they feel a little fear and anxiety for the unknown. My prayer for them is that these next few weeks and months feel more like an adventure with its attendant excitement; like going downhill on a roller coaster. We scream bloody murder and they scream for joy at the bottom, before we do it all again. It is inappropriate to contact Tony and Darrell from this point forward, but holding them in prayer is not only okay, but a good thing.

We, too, are on an adventure, with more than a little unknown in our future. Trust me when I tell you that wringing of hands won't do any good. What will do some (or a lot of) good is that we remember. Remember that we are a community of faith where we love, care for, and nurture each other. Remember that we are a community where everyone has a role. I remember teaching Vacation Bible School in Eastern Oregon in 1984 after my first year of seminary. I found myself joyfully singing, "All God's children have a voice in the choir, some sing low, some sing higher, some sing out loud on the telephone wire. And some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they've got now..." Remember that we are surrounded by Spirit, holding our journey, encouraging us and guiding us on our path of choosing our next settled pastor.

So take a few minutes right now, as you read this, and lift in prayer the following:

Tony, Darrell and their cat.

Nina and the entire church council

For the interim search committee and for the person they choose

For the pastoral search commit and for the person who will become our next pastor

For each other at Arlington Community Church

For our transition time

For ourselves

And finally, a word about who we are. As a pastoral counselor, I've worked with lots of people who have ended a relationship. So often, they want to immediately look for a new relationship as a means of healing what hurts. More often than not, they bring their broken heart, anger and disappointment to a new relationship and live out their hurt in unhealthy ways. I always suggest that an individual do some personal work after a relationship. Be clear about who you are, do the healing and grief work that's needed, and then bring THAT strong person into a new relationship.

I'd like to take this moment to suggest that this transition to new pastoral leadership is a perfect time for us to fully claim who we are as a community of faith. I'd like us to clarify our strengths, acknowledge our limitations, do our grieving and healing and bring THAT congregation into a new relationship with a new pastor. A pastor does not define who we are. A pastor reflects who we are. Who are we? Who are we becoming? And how can you help move our community forward into the future?

Rev. Barry Cammer

P.S. We're going to have a variety of preachers for the next 6-8 weeks. So maybe this is a good time to share that, while I liked and appreciated Tony's preaching, I never come to worship to hear Tony. I come to be with my community of faith - all of you. So I ask that each of you commit to worshiping with us MORE during this transition, not less. We are so much more alive and stronger when everyone shows up. Your presence is felt. Your absence is also felt. Worship with us.

Upcoming Preachers

September 30 - Barry Cammer

October 7 - Dorothy Streutker

Interim Search Process Update for the Congregation

Interim Search Process

Update for the Congregation

Tony spoke in his last sermon about doing things together. Over the next months, we will be "Being Church" in our continuation of worship that feeds and inspires us, running the day to day operation of the church, reaching out with mission work, and planning for new Pastoral Leadership.

I was asked recently if we would "vote on the new minister". Because we are a Congregational Church and our "Polity" structure calls for "bottom up" governance of the church, we have a Congregational Meeting to approve of bylaws, budgets, officers, and the appointment of a new settled minister. After our interim minister is selected, in place, and facilitating our work together, we will be launching a search for a "settled minister". That search will involve the congregation in many ways: sharing our dreams and needs, developing a profile of our church that will serve us in years to come, forming a Search Committee, and ultimately (in a Congregational Meeting after we have been introduced to the final candidate), and (yes indeed) voting on a settled minister. That process has been known to take from months to a couple of years. It will be the job of the interim minister to facilitate the involvement of the congregation in that process.

In the meantime, some matters - for efficiency sake - are under the approval of the elected Church Council.   The search/approval process for an Interim Minister is one of those matters. The Elected Church Council will be voting on the Interim Minister.

ACC Bylaws: Under section titled Ministers

Section F. The Interim Period between Pastorates: Upon notice of a pastoral vacancy, the Church Council shall meet within a week to determine the pastoral needs of the church. When those needs require that a Minister be called to fill the vacated pastorate, the Directors shall take two actions:

1. Appoint an Interim Minister Search Committee to seek a candidate for Interim Minister, who shall do the specialized work needed during the interim period between the departure of a minister and the calling of a candidate for the vacant pastorate. The Interim Minister Search Committee shall consist of not less than three (3) nor more than seven (7) active Members.

a. The Interim Minister Search Committee may contact the Northern California Nevada Conference placement officer responsible for interim ministry, for advice and counsel; and shall ultimately introduce a candidate to the Church Council.

b. The terms of the interim ministry contract shall be reviewed and approved by the Church Council.

c. The interim candidate shall be called by at least a three-fourths vote of the Council members present.

2. Begin the search for a permanent minister, by setting in motion the steps in Section C, Calling a Minister.   (Section C, will be printed here later.)

The Interim Search Committee (Linda Young, Anita Baker, and Ruth Robinson) continues to move forward. Finding candidates that are qualified for this unique role is not easy, but some promising candidates are emerging. In the meantime, we extend gratitude to Barry, Susan and the whole team that is planning a worship structure and arranging for pulpit support in the weeks to come.

Linda Young,

Interim Search Committee Chair

Creation Justice is More Than Being Green by Ruth Robinson

Creation Justice is More Than Being Green

Ruth Robinson

This week's blog is different than what you have come to expect from Person of the Planet. It is a book suggestion and a reason to read "The 57 Bus". A brief review:

Heartbreaking but infused with compassion, this true story is riveting. The short, compelling chapters of The 57 Bus peel back issues of race, class, and gender in a subtle, empathic way. The writing is intense and insightful, and the reader comes away more aware and feeling more compassion for both teens. 

Kensington and El Cerrito Libraries selected this book for a Two-Cities-One-Book read. We may remember the horrific incident five years ago in Oakland about two teens, one calls themselves (correct new grammar) "a-gender", and the other boy is, well, a boy. One expresses themself by wearing skirts and a baseball hat; the other by being seemingly tough among his peers. Then there was Bus 57, AC Transit, taking the kids home from school.

And a kid was set on fire. This is their story. You can get your very own FREE copy of the hardback at either Library, on the condition you will either return it OR share it with others. It is not long, but compelling; not difficult to read, but contains information we need to hear.

Justice issues, especially around creation matters, are much more than recycling the church bulletin each week.

Bonus: the author is speaking at the EC Library on Oct. 9th, and there will be public discussion groups for both adults and teens later in the month.